Face ID Not Working On iPhone? Here Are 18 Fixes To Try [2023]

Face ID Not Working On iPhone Here Are 18 Fixes To Try

As technology advances, so too do the ways we protect our iPhones. Face ID is a revolutionary security feature that allows us to unlock our phones with just a glance.

But what happens when Face ID suddenly stops working?

In this article, I’ll provide insight into why Face ID may become unavailable, how much it costs to fix it, and more – so you can take control of your device’s security.

Introduction

Face ID is an exciting feature that Apple introduced in its button-free iPhones.

However, it can sometimes stop working and become unavailable. The unavailability of Face ID on your device may occur when you least expect it, causing inconvenience while trying to unlock your iPhone.

This issue usually occurs due to something momentarily obstructing part of your face or the device being too far away from you.

If Face ID stops working, the first step is to manually enter your passcode to gain access to your phone. After that, you can troubleshoot and fix the potential issues causing Face ID malfunction.

Understanding when this feature becomes unavailable will help you fix any potential problems with Face ID before they arise.

Face ID Not Working? Fixes

1. Restart Your iPhone or iPad

Restarting your device can help get Face ID back up and running.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Shut Down and turn off the iPhone. Wait about a minute before turning it back on, then enter your passcode to re-enable Face ID.

If done correctly, the Face ID components should be working again. However, for security reasons, you must use the passcode after restarting your device.

This simple solution may not solve more complex issues with Face ID but is worth trying first as it’s quick and easy to do.

2. Check Your Face ID Configuration

Checking your Face ID settings can help ensure it’s working correctly.

Open the Settings app and scroll down to find Face ID & Passcode.

If you see the Reset Face ID option, then Face ID is already set up on this device.

Otherwise, choose Set up Face ID and follow the instructions provided.

Once that’s complete, make sure iPhone Unlock, iTunes & App Store, Wallet & Apple Pay, Password AutoFill, and Other Apps are all checked off under Use Face ID.

Doing this should get your Face ID functioning properly so you can use it with confidence.

3. Clean the TrueDepth Camera Sensor

Clean the TrueDepth camera sensor to ensure Face ID works correctly.

Over time, dirt and grease can accumulate on the lens, blocking its view of your face and preventing it from recognizing you.

 

Source: Macrumors.com

 

To prevent this issue, take a soft cloth and carefully wipe the sensor array at the top of your phone.

Make sure nothing is obscuring it or covering it up, such as rugged cases or thick screen protectors. If so, consider removing them to allow better access for Face ID.

Doing this regularly will ensure that your device functions as expected when you need to use Face ID.

Moving forward, be mindful of not blocking the TrueDepth camera with objects when using it for authentication.

4. Hold Your iPhone in the Right Way

Holding your device correctly is key for Face ID to work properly. It should be held at an arm’s length or closer (10-20 inches or 25–50 centimeters) and in portrait or landscape mode depending on the type of phone and iOS version you have.

  • iPhone 13/newer with iOS 16 or higher: Supports both portrait and landscape mode.
  • iPhone 12/later with iOS 15.4+: Supports only portrait mode, but also has a Face ID with mask feature.

If you cover the sensors, you’ll get a ‘Camera covered’ message that will point to the TrueDepth camera.

If done right, it will help ensure that Face ID works as intended – unlocking devices quickly and securely.

5. Prevent Obstructions of Your Face

Be sure not to block the TrueDepth camera with objects when using Face ID for authentication.

Avoid covering your nose, mouth, or eyes with a veil or other clothing as this will interfere with the function of Face ID.

 

 

Additionally, be aware that you may need to hold your iPhone higher if wearing a face mask.

Ensure eyes are visible when using Face ID. Do not obscure the area around the TrueDepth Camera. Take off sunglasses when setting up and using Face ID. Keep the iPhone at a height so that the camera can see your face.

Keeping these tips in mind should ensure that you get the best possible performance from Face ID.

6. Allow Face ID in Third-Party Apps

To use Face ID with third-party apps, you’ll need to enable it in your settings.

Open the Settings app and tap on Face ID & Passcode.

 

 

At the bottom of this page, you’ll find Other Apps; make sure that any apps you’d like to use Face ID with have their switch turned ON.

Alternatively, head directly to a given app’s settings page (i.e., Settings > WhatsApp) and check its Face ID setting there.

If done correctly, you should now be able to use Face ID with the respective third-party apps!

Cleaning the TrueDepth camera sensor could further help improve accuracy; read on for more information.

7. Use Face ID Without Sunglasses

Try using your device without sunglasses to see if Face ID works better.

Apple designed the feature to work with hats, scarves, glasses, and contact lenses. However, most polarized lenses interfere with Face ID’s infrared light.

 

 

If your iPhone isn’t unlocking even after taking off your shades, try again.

You may find that Face ID unlocks easier when you’re not wearing sunglasses.

8. Set Up an Alternate Appearance

If you look significantly different, setting up an alternate Face ID appearance can help ensure facial recognition still recognizes you.

To do so, open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad Pro and select Face ID & Passcode from the root list. From there, choose the Set Up an Alternate Appearance option and follow the instructions to complete your setup.

 

 

This feature will continuously learn and update its mathematical representation of your face as it changes over time.

Configuring an alternate appearance can also be beneficial if you have a full beard that’s been shaved off since setting up Face ID originally.

Using this feature helps ensure that your device still recognizes you when you look drastically different than when you initially set it up.

9. Reset Your Face ID and Set It Up Again

If Face ID is not working or is unavailable, resetting it is a good next step. To do so:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Hit the Reset Face ID option.
  4. Choose Set up Face ID to start fresh.

After resetting, I can set up an alternate appearance if I desire. 

10. Update iOS to the Latest Version

To ensure your device is running optimally, update the iOS to its latest version.

Head over to Settings > General > Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions to install the latest available software.

This can help to resolve any Face ID issues you may be experiencing as it ensures that any known bugs are patched, vulnerabilities are addressed, and other improvements are made.

If you’re unable to install the update due to storage constraints, delete some files or back them up in iCloud or iTunes before continuing with the update process.

11. Examine the Conditions Around You

Checking your surroundings is an important step to take when troubleshooting why Face ID might be unavailable.

Make sure the lighting isn’t too bright or dark, and no people are standing behind you. To get consistent results, use it in areas with natural light.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Ensure a well-lit area
  • Find a private place if necessary.

12. Perform a DFU Restoration on Your iPhone

If you’re having issues with your iPhone, a DFU restore could be the solution.

A DFU restore completely erases and replaces the code on your device, similar to building an entirely new foundation for a house with cracks in its structure.

It’s important to back up your data before performing this type of reset as it will erase everything from your phone.

To do so, use a Lightning cable to connect your iPhone to a USB port on your computer, then open iTunes if using Mojave 10.14 or earlier or Finder if using Catalina 10.15 or later.

Depending on which iPhone model you have, press and hold either the Home button and power button at the same time or the power button and volume down button simultaneously for 8 seconds before releasing the buttons when your phone appears in iTunes/Finder – If successful, it’ll appear with a black screen indicating that you’ve entered DFU mode.

Finally, use iTunes/Finder to restore your iPhone and say goodbye to any software problems!

13. Investigate Your Phone’s Hardware

Take a look at your device’s hardware to see if there are any issues with Face ID. To do this, go to Settings > General > About > Parts and service history.

Here you’ll find an option for the TrueDepth camera on iPhones 12 or newer.

If it says “genuine Apple part” then everything is working fine.

But if it says “unknown part” or “Face ID issue detected” then there might be a problem with the hardware and you’ll need to send your device in for repair.

14. Permissions and Configurations from Third Parties Again

To ensure optimal security, it’s important to review any third-party applications and settings that may be affecting Face ID.

To do this, you’ll need to go into Settings > Face ID & Passcode and check the Other Apps section.

Here you can make sure all third-party apps are activated for use with Face ID if they require it for security.

It’s also a good idea to double-check the permissions of each app as this could be preventing Face ID from working properly.

15. Reset Device Settings

To further troubleshoot any issues with your device’s performance, resetting all settings may help.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset and select ‘Reset All Settings.’

You’ll need to enter your passcode to confirm the action.

Once completed, Face ID will need to be set up again – but no apps or personal data will have been deleted.

This is just one way of fixing Face ID that’s unavailable on your iPhone; another option is an erase and factory reset.

16. Wipe and Restore Your iPhone to Factory Settings

If you’ve exhausted other methods to fix the issue, erasing and factory resetting your iPhone might be the best option. To do this, first back up your device in iCloud or on a computer. Then:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset
  2. Select Erase All Content and Settings
  3. Confirm the action by entering your passcode
  4. Allow your iPhone to complete the process.

This will erase all apps, photos, settings, and data from the device.

After that’s done you can either restore your phone from a backup or set it up as new again.

Either way, you’ll have taken steps to ensure Apple carries out any necessary repairs for Face ID not working correctly on your iPhone.

17. Make Sure Repairs Are Done by Apple Themselves

Make sure Apple takes care of any repairs needed to get your Face ID running again. If you have had an iPhone screen replaced or repaired by a non-official service center, likely, the Face ID feature may not work correctly.

Official repairs with genuine parts must be authenticated with Apple’s servers for the Face ID sensor to function properly.

So, if you’re having problems with Face ID after getting your device fixed at a non-Apple repair shop, it is best to take it to an official Apple store for repairs and authentication. That way, you can ensure that the hardware will be compatible and working as intended, allowing you to use all of its features without any issues.

18. Reach Out to Apple Support

Calling Apple Support can help you get your Face ID up and running again.

If your TrueDepth camera has been damaged, or if your iPhone was dunked in water, it could affect the functioning of Face ID.

By contacting Apple Support, you can have a store visit scheduled to resolve the issue. You’ll be able to speak with an expert on the phone who will guide you through setting up a repair appointment at a local location.

From there, you’ll be able to get back to having access to all of the features that make Face ID so convenient and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is My iPhone or iPad Compatible with Face ID?

Most recent iPhones and iPads support Face ID, except the iPhone SE. Going back to the iPhone X, any Apple product in this range will have this technology built-in and ready to use.

This includes all 11-inch iPad Pro models and 3rd-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pros.

It is worth noting that although these devices are equipped with Face ID, they may not always work properly due to third-party permissions or settings changes.

To ensure that your device’s Face ID is working correctly, make sure you have enabled it in your settings menu and granted any necessary permissions for apps using the feature.

How much does it cost to fix Face ID?

If your device’s Face ID isn’t working, it can cost the same as replacing a screen or camera part to get it fixed.

To determine what needs to be done, schedule an appointment at an authorized Apple repair center.

If the issue is caused by a manufacturing defect, Apple will fix the hardware for free.

Without warranty coverage or AppleCare+, you may have to pay out of pocket for repairs. It’s best to check with them beforehand so you know exactly how much it will cost before committing to the repair.

It’s important to remember that water damage and other external factors won’t be covered under warranty and can lead to additional costs when repairing Face ID hardware.

Is Face ID Susceptible to Water Damage?

Water damage can cause your Face ID to become unavailable.

The IP67 rating for dust and water resistance on iPhones 7 and later may help protect them against liquid exposure, but physical damage from accidental drops or bumps can impair its effectiveness.

Does a privacy screen protector affect Face ID?

You should be aware that privacy screen protectors can obstruct the TrueDepth camera, impacting your ability to use Face ID. 

To avoid this issue, make sure you purchase a compatible and trusted privacy protector for your device. Confirm that the protector is not blocking or obscuring any part of the front-facing TrueDepth camera during installation. Ensure that you’re using the most up-to-date version of iOS; outdated software can sometimes interfere with Face ID functionality.

If all else fails, try removing the privacy screen protector altogether to see if it makes a difference.

Why Has Face ID Ceased to Function Following an iOS Update?

When an iOS update is installed, Face ID may become unavailable. 

This can be caused by a bug in the system which affects the device’s ability to properly process Face ID data. To fix this issue, you can either go back to the previous version of iOS or wait for Apple to release a patch for it.

Is It Possible to Register Multiple Faces for Face ID?

Yes, it’s possible to set up multiple faces for facial recognition.

With an iPhone, you can register up to three alternate appearances with Face ID, allowing more than one person to unlock the device.

Here are four simple steps for setting up additional faces on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings and select Face ID & Passcode.
  2. Tap “Set Up an Alternate Appearance” and follow the instructions on the screen.
  3. When prompted, position your face in front of the camera and slowly move your head in a circle until Face ID has scanned and registered the new face.
  4. Repeat these steps for each additional appearance that you would like to add to Face ID recognition on your iPhone.

Can I revert to using a passcode instead of Face ID?

If you’d prefer, you can switch back to using a passcode instead of Face ID.

To do this, go into your iPhone’s settings and select ‘Face ID & Passcode.’ Then, scroll down and choose the option to reset your Face ID. This will disable the feature and allow you to use a passcode or password instead.

It’s important to note that switching back to a passcode or password may result in decreased security for your device.

Although Face ID is secure when set up properly, it offers an extra layer of protection due to its advanced biometric technology. If you’re worried about someone unauthorized accessing your phone, it’s best not to enable this switch unless necessary.

On the other hand, if convenience is more important than security for unlocking your phone, then setting up a passcode might be the better choice for you.

A passcode or password can be entered quickly with minimal effort as opposed to having to look at your phone each time for Face ID authentication to take place.

Overall, if you want additional convenience but are willing to sacrifice some security features, then using a passcode or password instead of Face ID may be right for you.

The ability to make this switch is available on all iPhones that have Face ID capability so there’s no need to worry about compatibility issues when making the changeover from one unlock method to another.

Does Face ID Work in the Dark?

Yes, Face ID does work in the dark. Apple has equipped the technology with infrared sensors which allow it to scan your face even when there is no light present.

However, it may take longer than usual for it to recognize your face in low light or darkness. To improve accuracy and speed of recognition, make sure you set up Face ID in a well-lit room and keep your device away from bright lights or direct sunlight.

Does Face ID Work With Sunglasses?

Yes, Face ID works with sunglasses, provided that they are not too dark or reflective.

The TrueDepth camera system on your iPhone can recognize you even if you’re wearing sunglasses. However, the darker the lenses or the more reflective they are, the higher the chance there is of it not working properly.

You may need to adjust your glasses so that your eyes are visible for Face ID authentication.

Does Face ID Work With Masks?

According to reports, Face ID doesn’t work with masks because it relies on facial recognition technology.

On average, only 1 in 1 million people can unlock an iPhone using their face while wearing a mask. While this statistic may seem daunting, there are still ways to use Face ID with masks.

For example, you can set up an alternate appearance for your face when wearing a mask by taking multiple photos of your face under different lighting conditions. This will help improve the accuracy of Face ID and allow you to continue using it even when wearing a mask.

Conclusion

Wrapping up, Face ID is an amazing tool that can help us unlock our phones quickly and securely. While it’s not perfect and may occasionally fail us, there are plenty of ways to get it back up and running.

From checking if your device supports Face ID to making sure a privacy screen protector isn’t blocking the camera, to even changing settings after an iOS update, we can easily fix our Face ID frustrations.

So don’t despair if you find yourself unable to access your phone with Face ID – take a few simple steps and you’re sure to smile when your face unlocks the device again!

Also Read: Guided Access Not Working On iPhone Or iPad?

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...